The heated history of the Yankees-Astors intense rivalry

New York Yankees, Aaron Judge, Jose Altuve
Jun 22, 2019; Bronx, NY, USA; Houston Astros second baseman Jose Altuve (27) talks to New York Yankees right fielder Aaron Judge (99) at second base during a pitching change during the sixth inning at Yankee Stadium. Mandatory Credit: Brad Penner-USA TODAY Sports

The Yankees and Astros turned into a heated rivalry back in 2017. New York and Houston faced off in the ALCS with a trip to the World Series on the line. The series was unbelievable. It was full of comebacks, crazy home runs, and heartbreaking losses for both teams. However, in the end, the Astros came out on top. A seven-game series ended with a 4-0 victory in Houston’s favor. 

The loss was incredibly heartbreaking. The 2017 Yankee roster was seen as a “rebuilding” team. With the help of young stars like Aaron Judge and Gary Sanchez, they turned into a World Series contender. After overcoming a two-game deficit against the Indians in the ALDS, New York was ready for their shot at the pennant. They felt short, however. The Astros would go on to win the World Series as the Yankees sat home watching. 

In 2018, it looked like the Yankees might have another chance. If the Yankees and Astros both won their ALDS matchups, they would be back yet again. However, the Boston Red Sox stood in their way. The Yankees fell short in four games to Boston. The Red Sox then beat the Astros in the ALCS and took down the Dodgers in the World Series. 

The Bombers would have their chance at revenge in 2019, however. It would be New York against Houston in the ALCS once again. Many felt this would be the year the Yankees finally made it back to the World Series. 

They fell short yet again—this time in six games. A DJ LeMahieu game-tying home run late in game six wasn’t enough. Jose Altuve walked it off in the bottom of the ninth and sent the Yankees home packing. 

After the 2019 season concluded, something interesting was discovered regarding the Astros. They looked back at games from 2017 and heard strange banging from the dugout while Houston was batting. The banging started as soon as the opposing catcher would give signs. The number of bangs also varied. Through this, they discovered that the Astros were stealing signs. However, they couldn’t quite figure out how. 

This had fans going nuts. In 2017, the Astros won the world series. If they did cheat, that would’ve affected many teams’ chances at a championship: one being the New York Yankees.

The MLB launched a full investigation, and this story gained national attention. Astros manager AJ Hinch and several players denied these allegations. However, the MLB discovered that Houston had been using a camera in center field to steal signs. They had a whole setup in which an Astros employee would watch a live feed on a monitor near the clubhouse. Then when the employee saw the sign, he would convey it to the Astros dugout. Then someone would bang on a trash can. If they hit the trash can once, it was a fastball. If they hit it twice, it was a breaking pitch.

You can imagine this made Yankee fans’ blood boil. Not only did the Astros beat the Yankees in the ALCS, but Aaron Judge was outvoted by Jose Altuve for an MVP award as well. It became one of the biggest cheating scandals in sports history. 

Almost every baseball fan was ready to hit the Astros with loud boo’s in 2020. But, the Astros lucked out again. The world was hit with the COVID-19 pandemic, and the MLB announced that there would be no fans in attendance. 

However, now in 2021, the Yankees fans are ready for the Astros in the Bronx. It will be the first time the two will face each other since 2019. It was already a huge rivalry before, but now, it’s a can’t miss series. 

Tune in tomorrow as the Yankees take on the Astros in the first of a three-game series. Although the Yankee Stadium capacity is only 20%, the fans are still going to be roaring in the concrete jungle. First pitch will be at 7:05 pm EST under the bright New York lights.